The Taoiseach must demand an emergency European Council meeting at which sanctions on Israel are on the agenda, according to Social Democrats Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Gary Gannon.

“Israel is pursuing a policy of annihilation and mass destruction in Gaza. Its outrageous ground invasion of Rafah, and the closure of the border crossing which facilitates the delivery of aid, is the latest in a litany of war crimes.

“It is now three months since the former Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, and the Spanish Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, wrote to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to request an “urgent review” of the EU-Israel trade deal. As far as we know, Ms von der Leyen has not even bothered to reply to that letter – never mind review or suspend the deal.

“The pathetic and craven EU response to the slaughter of more than 35,000 people, including 14,000 children, in Gaza can be characterised as apathy and inaction.

“Ms von der Leyen, and EU leaders, routinely speak about European values. To name just a few – human rights; equality; human dignity and the rule of law. Israel’s slaughter of a captive population in Gaza is in direct contravention of every value Ms von der Leyen claims to hold dear.

“Despite this, there has not been as much as a mildly critical statement of Israel’s brutal actions from Ms von der Leyen. Quite the contrary, she has provided her unqualified support.

“The next European council meeting is not scheduled until the end of June. The Taoiseach must demand an emergency meeting of the European Council at which sanctions on Israel – both economic and diplomatic – are firmly on the agenda.”

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